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What Is a Childhood?

What is a childhood? A series of events preparing you for the wider and much more frightful world of an adult? A way for parents to fill your mind with life lessons which they have been taught previously by their Mother and Father, so that you turn out as well as them? Or is it something to treasure so that when you look back at your childhood you remember when you could run and jump and play and had no responsibilities whatsoever?

Surely you need to know what’s ahead of you, what’s round the corner as adulthood approaches and to learn valuable lessons on the way. But really: are childhoods meant to be enjoyed or used for preparation? 

Everyone only has one childhood. It flies by in a second, a blink of a really big eye. And as soon as it’s over, only then do you realise how much of a blast it was. Only when you’re sitting at an office desk or behind a counter do you suddenly feel restricted. Then you start to think back to the times when you were running along the beach with the wind in your hair, absolutely weightless, doing all the things you could do when you were a child that are deemed unthinkable for an adult. As a child, you did as you wished, no bills to pay, no boundaries or restrictions. The world’s your oyster, or something like that. Childhoods should be enjoyed and treasured!

But then again, perhaps that only gives you grief later when you think how you used to be free, and now you’re sat behind a desk writing methodologies for some boring bank.

So wouldn’t it be a lot less pain and grief later on, when you’re not skimming stones or running along beaches, if instead your parents spent most of your childhood sharing their wisdom about becoming an adult and offering life lessons starting and finishing with, ‘when I was your age’ and giving you ‘Man Training’. Wouldn’t that be more useful later on when you’re looking for a job and going through other life experiences?

Hmm, that sounds useful but a bit dull. I think childhood should mainly be for enjoying…with maybe the occasional life lesson thrown in!


Jude Parker

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